Garden Photo of the Day

Brilliant Fall Color

Leaves and berries of the autumn season

Today we’re traveling to the Pacific Northwest, where Gail Barnard gardens just south of Portland, Oregon. And we’re going to step back in time to when, Gail says, she enjoyed an especially brilliant fall after a long, hot, dry summer. In addition to the usual brightly colored trees, Gail’s garden gets fall interest from berries and perennials as well.

A beauty berry (Callicarpa dichotoma, Zones 5–8) is loaded down with berries. In a season that is dominated by reds, oranges, and yellows, beauty berries are a nice contrast with their brilliant purple. I love how in this planting, the purple of the berries is echoed by the purple heuchera growing below it.

We often think of fall color as being the domain of trees and shrubs, but some perennials put on a pretty good show too. Here Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra, Zones 5–9) takes on a beautiful golden hue, perfectly complementing the gold chairs in the background.

Paperbark maple (Acer griseum, Zones 4–8) has great bark all year, but in the fall the fiery foliage takes it to a whole new level.

In this long view of the garden, Japanese forest grass makes bright puddles of gold, which looks all the brighter for the green foliage around it.

The paperbark maple looks even brighter as it catches the sunlight behind it. It is worth noticing the sun’s position in your garden in the fall so that you can plant something brilliant like this and transform fall colors into nature’s stained-glass windows.

Another view of the sun-soaked fall garden.

In autumn, as in the rest of the year, putting two contrasting colors together can make each of them shine all the brighter. Here a blood-red Japanese maple (Acer palmatum, Zones 6–8) enhances the bright yellow foliage around it.


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View Comments


  1. LauraJaneS 02/11/2019

    Very beautiful - love those Japanese grasses!

  2. User avater
    treasuresmom 02/11/2019

    I love your fall colors & especially love those golden yellow chairs.

  3. User avater
    meander_michaele 02/11/2019

    You really do have an exceptionally beautiful garden, Gail. It not only sings with joyful harmonies but it also provides a wonderful stage for the outstanding soloists like the Paperbark maple and Beauty berry bush. I love the radiant luminosity your garden shines with during the fall months.

  4. cheryl_c 02/11/2019

    Gail, your photos could well be titled, "How to use color echos". Beautiful assortment, love your combinations, and your garden is awesome. Thank you so much for sharing these!

  5. toweringpines 02/11/2019

    Beautiful pics and lots of info. What a great post! GPOD seems to be getting better all the time.

  6. caroldt 02/11/2019

    I believe I posted everyone of these images to my gardening Pinterest boards! So inspiring!

  7. btucker9675 02/11/2019

    What a lovely garden! Beauty berry always wows me.

  8. [email protected] 02/11/2019

    Thanks, Gail. Now I know what to plant along with my Beautyberry (still in a pot). Do you have deer? If so, how do you deal with them? And to they damage your Japanese maples? Thanks for the inspiration!!

    1. gailbarnard 02/11/2019

      We have erected a deer netting extension above the bamboo fencing to keep deer out

  9. gailcleland 02/11/2019

    beautiful colour in wonderfully designed garden. love it

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